British Columbia

B.C.'s LNG job claims disputed in new report

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives refutes the B.C. government’s claim Pacific NorthWest LNG project will create 100,000 jobs.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calls its report a reality check

A report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the B.C. government is exaggerating the benefits of LNG while downplaying the costs. (CBC)

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives refutes the B.C. government's claim that the Pacific Northwest LNG project will create 100,000 jobs.

"We find this to be a manufactured statistic," lead author Marc Lee told Rick Cluff on CBC's The Early Edition.

Report author Marc Lee says the B.C. government is privatizing a public resource and downplaying the project's environmental costs. (Charlie Cho/CBC)

Lee says the LNG project's costs outweigh its benefits. He cites greenhouse gas emissions and the impact on the water supply in exchange for what he says are small gains in jobs and revenue. Lee calls the report a reality check.

"The potential gains have been vastly overstated by the provincial government while in a sense, they are privatizing a public resource," Lee said.

Lee points to job numbers from Petronas, the company behind Pacific NortWest LNG. He says once the facility is built, only 2,000 to 3,000 jobs will remain.

Lee says that's a long way from the 100,000 jobs the B.C. Liberals have promised even if all five planned facilities are eventually built and there is no way of knowing how many of those jobs will be temporary or filled by foreign workers.

B.C. government defends numbers

But Rich Coleman, B.C.'s Minister of Natural Gas Development, says many of the 100,000 jobs will be spinoff jobs — in other words, work the LNG industry will create indirectly.

Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development, says the CCPA report doesn't account for the many spinoff jobs that will be created. (CBC)

"If you add jobs up and down the chain, there are service jobs that have to be done. There are spinoff jobs that come from that. It affects everything," said Coleman, citing everything from housing construction to new Tim Hortons restaurants.

"You can't put $36 billion into an economy and not have significant spinoffs," he said.

He also said the CCPA report did not consider the 2,000 to 4,000 pipeline jobs that will be created by the project itself.

Coleman says the CCPA did not consult the LNG industry in its report and points out the government is citing numbers from credible accounting firms, Ernst and Young, and KPMG.


To hear more, click the audio labelled: Rich Coleman defends LNG job numbers.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.